Martin Forwood: The land grab by NuGen for its triple reactor Moorside site keeps on growing, writes Martin Forwood. The ‘biggest construction project in Europe’ is expanding from Nugen’s original 200 hectare site to 552 hectares of farmland reaching right up to two villages and an 11th Century church. But with compulsory purchase on the cards, there’s nothing locals can do except keep on fighting the entire deeply flawed project.
Ecologist 7th Aug 2015 read more »
£40m site huts to be built for the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station will be the UK’s largest ever modular buildings, it is believed. Premier Interlink has landed a £40m contract to supply prefab site accommodation. It will construct almost 1,000 steel-framed modules offsite at its factory in East Yorkshire and then ship them them down to Somerset for assembly on site.
Construction Index 7th Aug 2015 read more »
Construction Enquirer 7th Aug 2015 read more »
A county business has been picked as one of the suppliers for the new Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, in Somerset. Aggregate Industries, in Markfield, has been picked as an approved supplier for the plant being planned by EDF Energy. The company is yet to find out what it could end up providing for the project, although it is already working on a bypass, park-and-ride facilities and highway improvements as part of the power station development.
Leicester Mercury 7th Aug 2015 read more »
Police have placed a 200 metre cordon around a dilapidated Essex power station after reports of a “suspicious package” nearby.
Essex Chronicle 7th Aug 2015 read more »
First edition of ONR’s stakeholder newsletter: includes Hazard Reduction and Remediation at Sellafield Legacy Facilities; GDA and new build; ONR and the Environment Agency have carried out significant assessment work during Step 3 of GDA of the UK Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR). We have recently issued two Regulatory Issues (RIs) to Hitachi-GE, following concerns identified in two topic areas. AGR Graphite CORE Cracking: The 14 Advanced Gas-cooled Reactors (AGR) in the UK have a graphite core which is used as a moderator, which means it slows down the speed of the neutrons emitted during the fission reaction in the reactor. The core is constructed from thousands of interlocking graphite bricks which, besides sustaining the nuclear reaction to enable safe electricity generation, form channels in the reactor core, through which the control rods can be inserted. We explain the impact of ageing on the graphite core and the challenges this presents to both the operator, EDF NGL and ONR as the regulator.
ONR 7th Aug 2015 read more »
In addition to a big push for solar (Corbyn also supports onshore wind) he wants regulations which enforce high standards of insulation and “exacting standards on all things that use electricity, be they cars, electrical appliances or anything else”. But insultation and clean energy require investment up front. The government’s climate advisors have suggested such measures could account for around £175 of bills by 2030 and recent research by the left-leaning IPPR think tank suggested the cost of clean energy on bills falls disproportionately on the poorest. “I get this argument put to me quite often, that it hits the poorest hardest. Well it doesn’t have to. “It depends how the pricing mechanism works […] in any event one can have a cap on prices to ensure that doesn’t happen,” he says. And there is definitely one “big scheme” idea where he feels savings could be made. “I think we’ve been misled about the true costs of nuclear power generation.” “The safety issue of any nuclear power stations – what’s happened in Japan – is obvious for all to see […] and the issue nobody has an answer to is the question of nuclear waste”. He opposes any new nuclear power plants. But if he isn’t straightforwardly statist it would equally be a mistake to paint him as simply a green evangelist of small scale renewable energy. In the 1980s Jeremy was a fierce advocate of the UK’s coal industry and jobs for the miners — and it’s not something he has entirely let go of.
Energy Desk 7th August 2015 read more »
Jeremy Corbyn: We need a renewable energy revolution, an end to fracking, no new nuclear power, efficient homes, and the break up of our energy cartels, writes Jeremy Corbyn, All that, and strong protection for wildlife and oceans, no TTIP trade deal with the US, clean air to breathe, and massive investment in public transport. Is there anything not to like? Our first ‘public’ energy company was formed in Manchester back in 1817. Having led the way into the last energy revolution we are now lagging behind in the current one. Technologies that have revolutionised the telecommunications sector are about to do the same to energy – making energy systems more open and competitive, and more sustainable and democratic. It isn’t too late for Britain to catch up, and even lead, this energy revolution. Until 1947, most of Britain’s energy companies were municipal ones; with utility services providing local councils with 50% of their total income. Tomorrow’s smart towns, cities and regions are already looking at using today’s technologies – of energy generation storage, sharing and saving – to do the same. This is the Britain I want to build: a future that is innovative, inclusive and sustainable.
Ecologist 7th Aug 2015 read more »
Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn has called for a surge in rooftop solar panel deployment, but called for a revival of coal mining in the Welsh valleys, in his first detailed comments on energy and environment policy since launching his leadership bid. In an interview with Greenpeace-owned website EnergyDesk published today, Corbyn said if he became leader his energy policy would be focused on promoting energy efficiency and decentralised energy generation systems.
Business Green 7th Aug 2015 read more »
Jeremy Corbyn has just announced that he favours public ownership of the electricity industry in the UK. Does that mean a return to the days when electricity generation was one big nationalised monopoly as in the days of the CEGB? That would be a bad idea. We need innovation in electricity in the UK. Monopolies (nationalised or private) generally mean that the incumbent industrial interest groups merely perpetuate their existing technologies, which is certainly something we don’t need in electricity at the moment. Admittedly privatised, liberalised, markets need various types of intervention – but nationalisation is definitely the wrong direction. Corbyn mentions nationalisation sometimes, and then talks about decentralisation – confusing. I appreciate that Jeremy Corbyn is opposed to new nuclear power plant, but nationalisation is more likely to to generate this outcome than present arrangements. The CEGB could only ever think of centralised larger and larger power stations, including a nuclear build programme which was stopped in its tracks by the fact that the newly privatised industry realised that nuclear power was a financial black hole. It is no coincidence that the only companies that will consider investing in nuclear power in the UK are themselves state owned – in France or China.
Dave Toke’s Blog 7th Aug 2015 read more »
Angela Eagle: Labour didn’t do enough to communicate our policies on the environment in the last Parliament. We failed to capitalise on commitments we had made to protect nature and decarbonise the UK economy. We needlessly gave the Green Party and even the Liberal Democrats a free run at showing that they understood the importance of the environment. I know the environment matters to so many people in the UK. The number of people who belong to environmental organisations dwarfs the combined membership of all political parties. These organisations, many of them small and community-based, work to protect the natural world and represent the many people who are concerned about the risks of climate change. These groups see nature as something that sustains and nourishes all life and so should be protected for the benefit and enjoyment of all. I agree with them. I know that so many Labour members do too. I know that from my experience coordinating the National Policy Forum and the Your Britain platform where members were a part of the policy-making process. Labour members, our councillors and our grassroots care about the environment because it matters for social justice. I care about it too and I’ll never forget my first job in government in the old Department for the Environment, Transport and the Regions back in 1997. The work of our Labour councillors in places such as Haringey, Manchester, Nottingham and Islington demonstrates the innovation, creativity and commitment our party brings to green policy. These councils are learning by doing; finding new ways to tackle fuel poverty, make a local park work for the whole community, or taking on the big energy firms by starting their own green energy services.
Guardian 7th Aug 2015 read more »
Debates over Trident and energy policy are rarely joined up. But are there deeper links between Britain’s nuclear deterrent and its commitment to nuclear power? Two momentous issues facing David Cameron’s government concern nuclear infrastructure. The new secretary of state for energy, Amber Rudd, recently confirmed her enthusiasm for what is arguably the most expensive infrastructure project in British history: the Hinkley Point C power station. At the same time, a decision is pressing on a similarly eye-watering commitment to renew Britain’s nuclear deterrent. For some supporters of a nuclear deterrent, the additional burdens of nuclear power may seem entirely reasonable. But the almost total silence on these connections raises crucial implications for democracy. Imminent decisions that the government must take over nuclear power and the nuclear deterrent are hugely significant. There is a responsibility on all involved to be open and accountable. Otherwise, it will not just be electricity consumers and taxpayers that pay the price, but British democracy itself.
Guardian 7th Aug 2015 read more »
This year marks the 103rd anniversary of the birth of nuclear physics, when Ernest Rutherford, Hans Geiger and Ernest Marsden’s experiments at the University of Manchester led them to conclude that atoms consist of tiny, positively-charged nuclei orbited by negatively-charged electrons. This year is also the 70th anniversary of the first nuclear bomb, dropped on Hiroshima. Though their discoveries led to the harnessing of nuclear energy as a weapon, it should not be forgotten that the purpose of Rutherford, Geiger and Marsden’s experiments, as with much of scientific research, was simply to understand nature. And in this they succeeded, handing us an understanding that has changed forever how we see the fabric of the world, and one which had led to much good, too.
The Conversation 7th Aug 2015 read more »
Grants totalling £2.5 million ($3.9 million) have been awarded by the UK government to the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) and the University of Manchester for the development of accident tolerant nuclear fuels. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has awarded £1.5 million ($2.3 million) to the NNL and £1.0 million ($1.6 million) to the University of Manchester to fund new capital equipment for nuclear fuel and manufacturing research. The investment will establish facilities for the development of nuclear fuels with enhanced accident tolerance.
World Nuclear News 7th Aug 2015 read more »
Once again Trident emerges as a key flag issue that establishes where candidates for the Labour leadership election stand. Andy Burnham has perhaps the most difficult task, being deeply sceptical about nuclear weapons personally but claiming that current international instability, and particularly Russian threats to European security, means it is not now the time for Britain to consider abandoning the weapons. This was much the same conclusion reached by the BASIC Trident Commission last year. This of course begs the question of when the right time is.
Huffington Post 5th Aug 2015 read more »
Japan – Fukushima
Another Fukushima worker died after leaving the frozen wall area / Tepco “the cause of death is not identified”.
Fukushima Diary 5th Aug 2015 read more »
A worker at the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has died in an accident. The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, and paramedics say the 52-year-old man was found stuck in the lid of a tanker on a large vacuum vehicle at around 6:30 a.m. on Saturday. They say the worker had been employed by a subcontractor. He was taken to a hospital in the neighboring town of Hirono but was later confirmed dead.
NHK 8th Aug 2015 read more »
The 2011 nuclear disaster resulted in a horrifying scenario in which nuclear fuel inside reactors melted down, triggering a massive release of radioactive materials into the environment outside the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has proposed a system of five layers of safety measures for nuclear power plants. The nuclear watchdog urges each country operating nuclear power plants to adopt this approach, known as “defense-in-depth,” to ensure the facilities operate safely. The final barrier in this system is prevention of radiation exposure to people living in areas around nuclear power plants. Specifically, this fifth and final stage of defense-in-depth should be implemented in the form of plans developed by the central and local governments to mitigate the consequences of nuclear accidents and evacuate local residents. When the Fukushima disaster occurred, however, no effective plan existed for the mass evacuation of local residents in Japan. This is because the possibility of a severe nuclear accident had been ruled out. As a result, the accident triggered utter chaos in local communities around the Fukushima plant. Now, more than four years since the disaster unfolded, Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai nuclear power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture is expected to restart its No. 1 reactor as early as Aug. 11. But the mitigation and evacuation plans currently in place are far from reassuring to local residents. The responsibility to establish the “final barrier” and ensure the safety of residents rests with the local government. There should be no headlong rush toward restarting the reactor when serious safety concerns persist.
Asahi Shimbun 8th Aug 2015 read more »
Finnish state-controlled utility Fortum has announced plans to acquire 6.6% stake in the 1,200MW Hanhikivi 1 nuclear power plant to be developed by Finnish consortium Fennovoima in Pyhäjoki in northern part of the country. Separately, Finland-based construction and project management company SRV has agreed to acquire 1.8% stake in the Fennovoima project while Finnish stainless steel maker Outokumpu plans to increase its share from 12.3% to 14.1% in the project. With the backing of these three Finnish companies, the project meets and exceeds the government’s condition set out in the decision-in-principle which involves the project to be owned at least 60% by the European Union.
Energy Business Review 6th Aug 2015 read more »
Ministers are taking the axe to renewable energy subsidies, casting a shadow over the future expansion of a sector that has attracted billions in investor funds. Specialist investment trusts buying renewable energy assets have grown from zero three years ago to a market capitalisation of over £2bn today, but analysts say growth may be tempered by the government’s stated intention of making clean energy “subsidy free”. “The existing portfolios should continue to deliver attractive returns, but a changing regulatory environment could impact on the ability of some funds to grow their assets whilst maintaining their dividend and total return targets,” said Charles Cade, head of investment companies research at Numis Securities.
FT 7th Aug 2015 read more »
Renewables – tidal
A British company has announced plans for an array of unique marine turbines that can operate in shallower and slower-moving water than current designs. Kepler Energy, whose technology is being developed by Oxford University’s department of engineering science, says the turbines will in time produce electricity more cheaply than off-shore wind farms. It hopes to install its new design in what is called a tidal energy fence, one kilometre long, in the Bristol Channel − an estuary dividing South Wales from the west of England − at a cost of £143m (US$222m).
Climate News Network 7th Aug 2015 read more »
Renewables – Hydro
Hydroelectric power is often touted as clean energy, but this claim is true only in the narrow sense of not causing air pollution. In many places, such as the US East Coast, hydroelectric dams have damaged the ecological integrity of nearly every major river and have decimated runs of migratory fish. The answer may lie in “sharing” our dammed rivers, and the concept is straightforward. Remove ageing hydroelectric dams, many of which produce relatively small amounts of electricity and are soon up for relicensing. When waters recede, rivers will occupy only part of the newly exposed reservoir bottoms. Let’s use these as a home for utility-scale solar and wind power installations, and let’s employ the existing power line infrastructure to the dams to connect the new solar and wind power facilities to the grid. This vision both keeps the electricity flowing from these former hydropower sites, while helping to resurrect once-abundant fish runs, as has recently happened in Maine.
Guardian 7th Aug 2015 read more »
This week’s Micro Power News: Nottingham City Council launches UK’s largest solar carport; solar farming in the community; solar co-ops; LED Street Lighting in Southend; West Lothian Town wants to be self-sufficient in renewable energy.
Microgen Scotland 7th Aug 2015 read more »